Protests, strikes and demonstrations by Argentina's workers against cuts and austerity forced the appointment of the fifth president in two weeks, Eduardo Duhalde, at the start of January.
Duhalde replaced Aldolfo Rodriguez Saá who took over at the end of December. Saá was unable to stop the country descending into further crisis. First he announced the government would cease payments on its £106 billion of public debt. This was the largest debt default by any country in history. He maintained a near total freeze on bank withdrawals to prevent a run on the banks by depositors. He also announced the creation of a 'third currency' - the argentino - that would float alongside the pesos and US dollars already in circulation.